What if you miss a connection?

Harvey has just booked tickets to the USA but is worried that he hasn’t enough time between flights when he transfers at LAX. So, he’s asked Leon what would happen if he missed his connecting flight.


Q. Harvey
I’m heading off to Las Vegas for a week and have booked flights that included a transfer at LA airport. There’s two hours between flights, which I’ve been told might be enough but a friend of mine reckons I may be cutting it fine. What happens if I miss that connecting flight? Will the airline sort that out for me or will I have to fork out extra?

A. If you bought your airfare through the one airline and in one ‘single trip’, then the airline is obliged to make sure you get to your destination. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) publishes minimum connection times and airlines must sell airfares that take these times into consideration.

If it’s not your fault that you miss your connection, then the airline must ensure that you and your luggage get to where you’re going at no extra cost to you.

If there is a delay, cancellation or any airport issues, such as lagging security, congested airways or immigration hold ups, the airline will put you on the next available flight and should cover any extra costs incurred, such as food and accommodation.

Also, if you have higher flight status, such as being a member of the airline’s frequent flyer or priority program, or if you have booked a premium economy, business or first-class seat, you will have priority over standard economy passengers.

However, if you’ve booked your tickets with different airlines, and you miss your connecting flight, you will most likely have to pay extra to get on the next flight, as the airline has no contractual obligation to protect you. If this is the case for you, then I suggest you call your connecting airline and try to extend the time between your connection, as LAX is super busy and can be ‘mercurial’ when it comes to the time required between flights.

And I’d recommend purchasing travel insurance, as then you’ll be covered in case the worst should happen.

Hope that helps!

Send you Travel SOS question to [email protected] and we’ll do our best to answer it, or find someone who can!

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.


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